6
DOMESTICITY; OR, HER LIFE AS A DOG

The good Earl of Shaftesbury once said: "Domestic life, by
the all-merciful Providence of God, is the refuge and stronghold of
morality: the honour, dignity, and mainstay of nations. "How well
this great truth has been understood in "England's Royal Home"
we need not say. The Queen's household has beenwhat every
palace should bea model home.

Charles Bullock, 1897

Given the English love of dogs, it is not surprising that Queen Victoria should be associated with them. There is more to the association than simple sentiment. Many cultural historians find direct relationships between eighteenth- and nineteenth-century English attitudes toward animals, colonial subjects, women, and the lower classes. Her intimate friendships with dogs, her own womanly service to her realm, and the "ethnic" servants in her Household form a loose pattern of interconnections that compare to representations of Victorian home life.1 By considering the Victorian monarchy as both constructing and being constructed by these attitudes, and by giving precedence to the animal perspective, one might devise a fable of Queen Victoria's life as a dog.

When would one begin such a fable? Would it be in 1835, when the Princess and her mother, the Duchess of Kent, became patrons of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA)? (Five years later Queen Victoria permitted the SPCA to affix "Royal" to its name.2) Or would it be 1837, when on June 20 Victoria became Queen of England and also owner of Edwin Landseer's painting, Dash, a "pet portrait," a genre that would become associated with her? The year

-127-

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Queen Victoria's Secrets
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Chronology xiii
  • Queen Victoria's Secrets xxi
  • 1: Elements of Power 1
  • 2: Genealogies in Her Closet 23
  • 3: Dressing the Body Politic 55
  • 4: Imperialtears 79
  • 5: Queen of a Certain Age 104
  • 6: Domesticity; Or, Her Life as a Dog 127
  • 7: Petticoat Rule; Or, Victoria in Furs 156
  • 8: Motherhood Excess, and Empire 187
  • Epilogue: Victoria Amazonica 211
  • Notes 223
  • Works Cited 237
  • Index 247
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